26 February, 2020
TRANSCRIPT: The Commonwealth review of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has cast quite the spotlight on the future of some of the most iconic parcels of land surrounding Sydney Harbour. The trust was established by former Prime Minister John Howard in 2001 to safeguard and restore various sites around the harbour.
My electorate of Warringah is proud to be home to two of the trust sites: Headland Park in Mosman and North Head Sanctuary in Manly. Situated at the gateway to Sydney Harbour, these iconic sites are places of remarkable Aboriginal, colonial and military heritage. They have irreplaceable cultural, environmental, historical and educational value and they are truly cherished by the local community. However, this current review has revealed that these precious community sites are at risk of being shut to the public and could result in private commercial developments blocking community access. The federal government must not let this happen.
The harbour trust should remain the custodian of the lands and continue as a Commonwealth entity. The harbour trust board should be modified and depoliticised with identified positions assigned to persons with experience and qualifications in Indigenous culture, military history, heritage and the environment. The Commonwealth should appropriately fund the trust on an ongoing basis, and these sites need to be protected from redevelopment. As places of national significance, they must be protected.